The western intersection of Md. 80 at Md. 75 near Urbana remained closed Monday evening after a storm with high winds rolled through Frederick County the night before and knocked over a string of power and utility lines.
The eastern part of that intersection reopened Monday afternoon, and the western part was scheduled to open by Tuesday morning rush hour, according to a news release from Maryland’s State Highway Administration.
The entire intersection had been closed since 9:30 p.m. Sunday, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Coordinated Highways Action Response Team website. Damage from the storm closed lanes and shoulders in both directions. No vehicles were damaged, according to the CHART website.
Multiple power lines were seen standing at roughly 45-degree angles Monday morning, and some were partially snapped and had collapsed into the road or a nearby cornfield.
Wilcom’s Inn, a steakhouse near Md. 80 and Md. 75, sustained significant damage as a result of the storm. Jorge Fuster, co-owner and wine director, said he’s never seen so much damage to the restaurant in his more than three years there.
“Pretty much the entire roof appears to be peeled off. ... There are pieces of tar hanging over the side,” Fuster said Monday afternoon. “There wasn’t a place where water didn’t get through.”
He said damage estimates were still being completed, but that they would probably cost tens of thousands of dollars. As a result, the restaurant is likely to remain closed until at least Thursday, Fuster said.
“We’ve never seen anything like it. ... While the thunder and lightning was everywhere, that area appeared to be specifically hit,” Fuster said of the location around Md. 80 and Md. 75.
The detour as a result of the road closing at Md. 80 and 75 not only put motorists out of their way, it led to an extended closing of its own after an oversized tractor-trailer got stuck and blocked the ramp from Interstate 270 south to Md. 80, according to a news release from the Maryland State Police.
The ramp reopened just before 5 p.m. Monday, according to a news release.
The damage from Sunday’s storm wasn’t limited to that area of the county.
Lorrie Kneebone said she heard several buzz saws around her home in Mount Airy on Monday morning.
Those buzz saws were from neighbors and arborists cutting up downed trees in the neighborhood. Kneebone, who lives on Manor Terrace off Penn Shop Road, has seen heavy storms in more than 20 years there, but none that caused the amount of damage seen Sunday night.
“I’ve never seen the neighborhood like this,” Kneebone said. “We walked through the neighborhood [Monday morning] and nearly everyone had a tree down.”
Around 9:15 p.m. Sunday, a heavy storm with high winds and lightning hit her neighborhood.
Kneebone said at one point a tree larger than a two-story house was blocking a street down the road from her home. After the rain ended at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, a bunch of neighbors got some chain saws out and cut the tree up.
In her yard, two large trees were split, but caused minimal damage, Kneebone said. Appalachian Tree Service, a local arborist, was providing homeowners quotes for tree removal Monday morning, she added.
She and others believed the damage might have been from a tornado, but Cody Ledbetter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the storm was actually a “microburst,” not a tornado.
Ledbetter said microbursts are basically when a thunderstorm and moisture build up in a certain area, and then hit concentrated spots.
“It’s kind of like a splat on the ground ... and in Mount Airy, that seems that’s where the splat occurred,” he said.
Exact wind speeds couldn’t be calculated for the storm, but were likely more than 60 mph, Ledbetter said.
In Middletown, Steve Shook said the storm destroyed a horse barn on his 4-acre farm. He first realized that at around 6 a.m. Monday, when his wife, Kimber, discovered the wreckage and was concerned some horses were trapped.
Shook said there were high winds and hail at around 8:45 p.m. Sunday.
“I’ve been through a lot, including that tornado that went through Adamstown,” Shook said, detailing a storm from the early 2000s. “And I thought this was nearly going to be one ... Thank God no livestock were hurt.”
There was also a reported road closure at Petersville Road and Jefferson Pike, where downed power lines and utility lines had blocked the road. Felix said Monday the road was still closed, but was unsure of when it would be reopened.
Ledbetter said although the county has seen its share of heavy storms and flooding this year, it’s difficult to say whether they’re occurring more often. Microbursts typically occur in the warmer months and can reach speeds of 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
“In the summertime, you’re going to get these microburst type of storms ... [and] you’re going to get a lot of these,” Ledbetter said.
City Editor Allen Etzler contributed to this report.